History of Czech Hall Bands

George Miskovsky Band played before WWII.  Much of the music used today has hisname stamped on the front of the sheet music.

Milo Belsky and his brothers started playing after brother Joe got out of the Army. Joe played alto sax, Milo played trombone, and Charlie played sax and trumpet. Paul Smith started playing trumpet with the band when he was fourteen years old. Charlie picked him up and drove Paul to the dances. Jerry Kaplan played tenor sax and accordion, Jim Masopust played drums, and Speedy Walker played piano.

The Belskys owned a refrigeration manufacturing business and many floral units, walk in units and beer cases are still working. When Milo’s trombone slide was sticking, he just poured beer down the tube and the slide started working.  He drank the rest of the beer. Milo obtained the baby grand piano from the officer’s club at Fort Sill in Lawton. It is still used today on the Czech Hall stage. After brother Joe passed, Milo retired and Charlie Belsky directed the band. He later called the band the Polka Stars.  Then in 1958, Jerry Kaplan directed the band and changed  the name to the Jerry Kaplan Orchestra.  His daughter Joyce played piano and was the vocalist.  John Simpson ran the band after Jerry passed.

In 2004, Milo Shedeck took over the band and named it The Bohemian Knights in honor of Toni, Charlie Belsky’s widow. Milo plays sax and clarinet. Milo found a world class accordion player named Dick Albreski and his band can play all types of music with most of the sheet music arrangements done by teacher and accordionist Albreski.  He is originally from Erie, Pennsylvania. His other players are: Kenneth Leck on drums, Mike Nielsen and Mark Guinn on trumpet, and Neal Hickerson on tenor sax.  His other players have been Paul Smith, Mike Forcina, Cory Johnson, Scott Shedeck  and Bob Bright on trumpet, Tim Hanna on tuba, Scott Rohr on drums, and Ken Elliott on tenor sax. Milo Shedeck also played in the Belsky, Kaplan, Vitek, and Masopust bands.

Other local bands that have played at the Czech Hall have included: George Miskovsky, Bob Vitek, Ed Novey, Ernie Divis, John Simpson, Charlie Rolivich, and Bessie Masopust .  Paul Smith played in all the above Bands except the original George Miskovsky Band.